Monday, March 30, 2015

"Words of Command" - a review..

Howling gale with lashing rain this Sunday so no chance of spending any time getting the boat [clicky] ready, grandson was at his other grandparents, eldest was at work, the current Mrs Steve the Wargamer also at work, so a lazy day lounging on the sofa was the order of the day - even more so when I realised at lunchtime that I'd missed the clocks changing and was running an hour late..  exhausting...

One thing I did want to do however, was to put some time in with the 6th Light Dragoons, now commanded by Matthew Hervey so while youngest was at the kennels (she has the best job ever, she's paid to go and play with the dogs for an hour or two!) I took myself off to the pub - couple of pints of Hophead [clicky] later and the book was finished...

So - let's start off with saying that, but for the last few chapters, this volume is not about rip roaring, blood, guts, smoke and black powder...  it's 1830, and with the best will in the world Britain was not heavily involved in overseas wars at the time, so Mallinson extemporises....

I would also say however, that I enjoyed the book enormously, easily as much as any of the previous volumes...  Hervey is as much about the mores and social aspects of the time, as he is about martial endeavour, and Mallinson slips in these little bits and pieces to take you back to the time in question...

So what is it about - the reality of serving in a light cavalry regiment in 1830 really - not all glory and charging at the enemy - a large part of it would have been civil policing (which takes up the first part of the book) involving industrial unrest, ludditism, etc In Hervey's case these are (hay) rick burners who he successfully manages to arrest in the environs of Windsor - as a result he is presented to the ailing King...

The second part of the book however deals with the celebrations at the time for the then 15th anniversary of Waterloo (clearly a parallel there then) - as part of an international brigade (with Dutch and Prussian light horse) the 6th form the British contingent at the celebrations. It couldn't come at a worse time however, since nationalist feeling in the region is running high for a independent Belgic nation (they were at the time governed by Holland)

As feelings run high, the French see the chance of making some political advantage, taking it upon himself, Hervey takes the 6th to the border to deter them - I won't spoil the story...

Elsewhere in the book, his disastrous marriage gets even worse, he doesn't see his daughter once, and I do worry that Fairbrother doesn't have enough to do, on the plus side his good friend Peto is recovered, and much happier...

I do hope we don't have to wait another 4 years for the next instalment!!    Steve the Wargamer rates this as an 8 out of 10....

2 comments:

  1. The way Mallinson adds depth to his books stands out way above the rest- allyou Cornwells and Scarrows and similar - just the same but in different trousers . This one is on my list

    ReplyDelete
  2. I read your reminder a couple od days ago. My copy arrived yesterday and I started reading it last night.

    Guy

    ReplyDelete